The Latest: Polls Close In Ohio For Midterm Election

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, feeds his ballot into a ballot scanner after voting Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Phil Long)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Latest on Election Day in Ohio. (all times local):

7:30 p.m.

Polls have closed in Ohio as vote counting gets underway in a number of closely watched races.

Votes in the midterm election include ballots cast Tuesday as well as thousands cast through early voting over the past month. Polls closed at 7:30 p.m. Ohioans are choosing a new slate of statewide officeholders, including governor, attorney general, auditor, secretary of state and treasurer.

Voters also cast ballots in the U.S. Senate race pitching two-term incumbent Democrat Sherrod Brown against GOP U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci (reh-NAY’-see).

The election also included a ballot issue reducing sentences for certain lower-level drug crimes, two state Supreme Court races, seats in the Ohio House and Senate, and 16 congressional races.

6:30 p.m.

A federal judge has ordered a county elections board in Ohio to deliver absentee ballot applications and ballots to two jail inmates named in a lawsuit seeking emergency ballots for Ohioans in police custody through Election Day.

The lawsuit was filed Tuesday by three voting rights groups on behalf of two Montgomery County Jail inmates. The Campaign Legal Center, MacArthur Justice Center and Demos requested officials statewide be required to notify detainees of their rights to submit absentee ballots.

The lawsuit argues recently jailed inmates are denied their constitutional right to vote because they’re in custody with no voting options.

The state delivers ballots to jailed Ohioans, but the deadline for requesting such ballots passed Friday.

There was no answer to calls to Montgomery County’s board Tuesday.

6 p.m.

An Ohio elections official says a paper jam caused an issue with a voter whose paper ballot appeared to show a different selection for governor.

A voter in Franklin County in central Ohio posted an Instagram video that showed a touch-screen selection for Ohio Republican gubernatorial candidate Mike DeWine appearing on paper as the Democratic candidate, Richard Cordray.

Aaron Sellers is a spokesman for the Franklin County Board of Elections. He says the machine in question had a paper jam and was taken offline. Sellers says the voter was moved to another machine and cast a ballot successfully.

A few other problems were reported at polling places in Lucas and Hamilton counties, where elections officials say the issues have been resolved.

4:00 p.m.

Some voters in Ohio say Republican President Donald Trump was a factor when casting their Election Day ballots.

Kevin Benson, a 38-year-old graphic designer from Westerville, says he’s registered as a Republican, considers himself an independent, and voted all Democrat Tuesday. He says that’s mostly because of Trump, adding he’s “frustrated” with the way the president is acting.

Grant Stitzlein, a 30-year-old registered Republican, says he followed Trump’s advice when casting his ballot in the Columbus suburb of Dublin. Stitzlein says he voted for Republicans in an effort to “make America great again.”

Seventy-one-year-old Linda Bishop from Westerville says she voted for candidates from both major parties but stuck with Democrats in the gubernatorial and congressional races. She says her disapproval of Trump was a factor in her voting

3:00 p.m.

The Ohio Secretary of State’s office says more than 1.3 million people voted ahead of Tuesday’s election, far outpacing the number of votes cast early statewide four years ago.

Officials say that through Monday, nearly 885,000 absentee ballots had been received by mail statewide and that 430,000 people voted early in person. That compares with around 719,000 people mailing in ballots in 2014 and 146,000 people voting early in person, for a total of about 865,000.

Just over 1 million votes were cast early in 2010.

The total number of votes cast statewide in 2014 was 3.1 million compared with nearly 4 million in 2010.

Around 8 million Ohioans are registered to vote.

1:30 p.m.

A few problems were reported at polling places in at least two Ohio counties, where elections officials say the issues have been resolved.

Lucas County’s Board of Elections in Toledo says at least three sites had technical problems Tuesday morning involving setup of electronic poll books. Board Director LaVera Scott says some callers reported being asked to wait instead of receiving backup paper ballots. She says the issues were resolved.

Some Hamilton County voters encountered problems in downtown Cincinnati and other sites when voting machines appeared to reject some ballots not completely filled out. Board of Elections Director Sherry Poland says a new change alerts voters if some races are left blank. They must press the “cast ballot” button to finish voting. Workers were assigned at all locations to help with that.

9:00 a.m.

State election officials say voting appeared to be going smoothly at polls in Ohio early on Election Day.

A spokesman for Ohio’s Secretary of State’s Office said no major problems were reported in the first few hours of voting Tuesday. Spokesman Sam Rossi said the state had no turnout predictions yet.

Polls opened at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday and will close at 7:30 p.m.

State election officials say more than 1.4 million absentee ballots had been requested and more than 1.3 million ballots had been cast by mail and in person at the close of in-person absentee voting Monday. At that same point during 2014 absentee voting, nearly one million absentee ballots had been requested and more than 813,000 were cast.

Democrats are trying to turn a recent Republican tide in Ohio’s statewide races.

5:40 a.m.

Democrats in Ohio are trying to turn a recent Republican tide in statewide races, relying on a ticket led by a familiar U.S. senator and a competitive governor candidate.

Sherrod Brown, first elected to Ohio office in 1974, seeks his third Senate term against fourth-term U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci (ruh-NAY’-see). Richard Cordray, President Barack Obama’s appointee as federal consumer protection chief, is in a tight governor’s race with Republican Attorney General Mike DeWine. It’s a rematch of the 2010 election when DeWine narrowly ousted Cordray to become attorney general.

Republicans have dominated recent statewide elections, capped by Republican Donald Trump’s decisive 8-point victory for president over Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Ohioans are choosing four other statewide officeholders, two Supreme Court justices and deciding a statewide drug sentencing ballot issue.


© 2018, Newspaper Staff. All rights reserved.

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